Archive for July, 2006

Originally uploaded by dario.agosta.

National governments have chosen to block internet content using tools blunt and sophisticated. China has been working with Google and other companies to restrict access to content that it does not like. The UAE has blocked and other general interest sites as well as all VOIP services such as Skype. India has blocked *, * and* . This action caused a storm of protest among Indian internet users. Will this protest be blocked?
The United States government, “the land of the free”,has collected international phone records of millions of Americans. Will snooping and control of our internet use follow?
All this is done in the name of fighting terrorism. There is no protection from bombers in blocking access to websites. Anyone wanting to send secret terrorist messages would use encryption or steganography. Web based communications is used to reach the masses – to put together demonstrations or strikes. These are not the tools of terrorists – these are the tools of legitimate political participation. (more…)

Prison Cell from societies have a duty to protect themselves from the actions of members of the society who fail to abide by the rules of the society. In modern society, these rules are established by representative bodies (Congress) and enforced by the executive. Infractions of the rules are called crimes. A police force is often the agency that identifies the commission of a crime, a prosecutor specifies the charges and makes the case before a tribunal or court, and a corrections department carries out the actions prescribed by the court. Often, the actions consist of confinement to prisons for some period of time, financial penalties or probation.

Why do societies do this? There are several purposes, some practical, some with unintended consequences, and some to assuage anger and pique. Lets look at some of these effects. (more…)

Creative commons from The United States is facing a big economic problem, along with Europe, who has it worse. The problem is simply that as the [tag]population[/tag] grows older there are fewer young people to work and support the economy. There are two separate causes: Americans now have few children, just equal to the replacement rate, and [tag]life expectancy[/tag] for Americans has increased – to 77.6 years up from 66.2 years in 1950. A third factor is the “baby boom” after World War II whose members are reaching retirement age.

This economic problem is substantially one of policy and the expectations of Americans. The policies established in the ’50s assumed that one would retire at 60 or 65 years and have 5 or ten years of retirement. We now have an average life expectancy of 11.6 years after a 65 year retirement instead of the 1.2 year expectancy in 1950. (more…)

I have written on the nature of nations in a previous post. True nations are brought together by a commonality of the peoples’ goals. The United States began as a white protestant nation of European exiles. From the beginning they had their differences, but due to the work of an extraordinary group of founders they practiced the art of compromise.

The country went through a civil war when the economic interests of the North and the South diverged. It was held together through the force of arms and eventually the wounds were healed by the export of the North’s industry to the South.

Immigration has caused alarm over waves of immigration, the Irish, the Chinese, the Jews, the Poles, the Italians, East Asians and more. Lady Liberty’s open arms welcomed many to the shores of the United States. Each has brought their own culture and religions, but each came in search of the “American Dream” and found assimulation into the secular culture of the United States is the key to reaching that dream. (more…)